NFG Season One - Actions Speak Louder

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Description: While Djamila has been busy fighting, Mint has been chasing down leads for Team Metal's training. As it happens though -- the time for Djamila's next training session has arrived. And also... there's something that -might- have been better left unsaid...

Mint was proud of Djamila -- and she'd told her so. Pretty much everything about the dancer-slash-polefighter's performance was spot on, in keeping with everything Mint had suggested. Djamila stayed in the zone, she didn't relent in her attacks ... everything went exactly the way a fight should go.

And yet, it seems that she's thinking about other things on the trip back. She'd simply... said she'd meet with her student the next day in the headquarters. Floor 78, just as always.

And that's where Djamila would find her at the designated time. The diminutive boxer is already in the workout space. But instead of her beefed-up gauntlets and their distinctive metallic grinding noises, she can be heard clacking about with a pole of some type. Punching it, or otherwise striking with her plastic prosthetic fists, as the pole stands fitted within a purpose-built stand on the floor.

Djamila was still proud of herself. She just worries for Genie, but thinking about it more, she realizes Genie is strong, and she won't let that setback stop her. So this morning she feels even better.

She was also curious about what Mint wanted to see her about. Something she didn't mention to Iris when she saw her. It wasn't necessary, especially with what they were already talking about.

At the time she's been told to come, here she is, fresh and ready to do whatever is expected of her today. Djamila 2.0 Apparently, it's more than a slogan on her part.

She gets further hand, hearing Mint boxing something it sounds like. "Hello Mint... Is it what I think it is?" She was curious, nervous too. A lot of different feelings. If it's a new pole. Something she talked about with Gregory. "I am ready for whatever you see fit. A big part of my change is because of you." That was her way of saying thanks without saying it yet. As she might before the session is over.

Mint stops taking swings at the pole when she hears Djamila's approach. Weapons aren't really her style, for the most part -- but she owed it to Djamila to learn a little more about this particular weapon.

Mint draws in her breath as she turns to face the blindfolded warrior. She flashes a friendly smile and curls her hand lightly about the pole.

"Could be! It's a pole, I can answer that with a 'yes.' But if you're hoping for it to be the special one Greg was working on, the answer's 'no' -- this is just a little doohickey I worked up in the lab."

Mint plucks the pole away from its stand, slowly turning it through a few revolutions. "Okay. So... I've been trying to get some fresh talents in for the team -- experts in their fields who can give each of you a boost. I've been able to track down folks for Kenzo, and Iris -- but as I'm still waitin' to hear back from your guest trainer, I figure it wouldn't hurt for -me- to spend some time getting to know the staff."

She grins cheerily. "But for now... You kicked ass yesterday -- didn't let up even a little bit. What would you say you've learned, lately, to make your showing yesterday so much stronger?"

"OK, so it's a pole, but I don't have to switch to it. I am relieved. I wasn't ready for that." She smiles, and she looks like she's relaxing at hearing the news. Now she's curious about what it is doing there then.

She listens to Mint though, instead of asking right away. "You go through a lot for us. We appreciate it Mint." She smiles at that. Then, she also explains why the staff. "Oh, it makes sense. You're one of a kind Mint."

She then answers Mint's inquiry, setting her staff down and leaning on it. "Yes, I was in the Zone. That's not to say all of my fights will be that easy. I know that much. If anything, I need to train more." She keeps the smile. "I've fought a stronger woman than me. Still, I did pretty well, even if she won. I also destroyed a car. For once focusing on power instead of speed. Because a car won't get out of the way. I worked on being in control of myself, which extends to my staff." She pauses before she adds. "Well, since my father is taken care of. I've let go of so much baggage that was stuck in my head. For now, at least. I am not crazy enough to think I will never be affected by my past."

"It all started after the rumble, I suppose. I needed to change my attitude. I worked on myself in all ways I could." She looks at Mint. "But if you think I am lacking in something, I will listen."

Mint nods to each point as it's stated, from Djamila being in the 'zone' to fighting a stronger woman, to... destroying a car. She'd known about all those.

She nods to the note about her father being... taken care of. And she keeps nodding, though... as Djamila mentions changing her attitude, and improving herself... her nodding grows a little slower.

"Y-yeah, that's... that's great, it's paying off immeasurably. You're a lot more... confident now, sure of yourself. But, um... I'm sorry, can we double back on something for a moment, I think I might've misheard."

Mint rests the pole on the mat, leaning against it with both hands. "He's 'taken care of?' Did you, er... get some closure?"

Mint feels like she might have missed a memo, somewhere.

She doesn't miss the... perhaps one might call it confusion, Mint is displaying after she mentions her Father being taken care of. "I feel more free, like I" She stops. Yes, it seems Mint is not aware of the offer Gregory made her.

She takes a deep breath. "I met the new sponsor, Greg. We talked about things, and after offering a couple of options." She pauses again. "I was assured my Father would not bother me again." She doesn't want to lie to Mint. But she would be lying by omission. "Do you wish to know more about 1this? I was under the impression the sponsors were talking with one another." She's also under the impression this place is wired anyway. That feeling did not change."

"Anyway..." She decides to add. "I've been able to let go for the time being. Like I said, I can't promise It will not come back in my mind. I will simply do my best to keep myself centered. I did the best I could before my match with Genie, and it seems it worked."

Mint just stares blankly at Djamila for a few moments.

... Like, an uncomfortably long time.

And then she breaks into a businesslike smile, stepping away from the pole, and giving it a light shove with her hand. The pole wobbles and reverberates around, but before it can fall, Mint grabs hold of it again.

"You know, let's... just not." She smiles faintly. "You got what you needed to out of it, and... I can talk this over with Greg some other time, alright?"

For the moment, Mint is -really- glad that Djamila's blindfolded. It makes this... a little easier to pull off.

"That's the important thing, yeah. And, er... no, I don't think you're -lacking- in anything. You're a solid performer and you get results."

Still unsettled, Mint just stops to take another breath, and remember what she had wanted to talk about. Exhaling, she composes herself properly.

"My big question is... how much control do you have over your staff? Like... if I just... grabbed hold of your staff and chucked it across the room, could you get it back without running over there for it?"

She doesn't say anything when Mint is silent. Only when she speaks again does Djamila do so too. "I thought Greg would have spoke about this. I hope I am not in trouble with you. And I won't be in trouble with Greg." She knows if she had to pick one sponsor to be loyal to, it would be Mint. "I am sorry for the confusion this has brought about." She sighs. "If I may add. I almost died three times Mint. Twice because of My father. It's just something for you to think about later." There was no venom in her voice, not today at least, about this." She brings her head down. As if...

But it's time for another subject. "Thank you for your assessment. It means a lot to me. I have gotten results ever since the rumble so far. Even if I was mad at myself when I got eliminated at first, which I transferred to Ichika." She says truthfully.

She takes a moment. "With the wind, I could. Would you like a demonstration?" The wind seems to be an extension of her. Most times, it's not a force that can destroy, but rather, it's a tool to help her in many ways.

Mint had already made peace with the part where Greg nonchalantly offered to take Djamila's dad out of the picture. She's already going to be thinking about it later, even before the exhortations to 'think about it later' came out.

"Yep. I understand."

That's all Mint has to say on the matter, as she looks off in the direction of the lounge -- if for no other reason than she could -really- use a stiff drink. Does Ultratech serve the -good- stuff in that dumbwaiter?

With a little distraction in her voice, Mint nods slowly. "Yeah, that'd be good. Wait here a moment, let me see if I can give you a target. "

The corporal takes a few steps back -- putting about eight feet between herself and the pole fighter. She squares shoulders with Djamila, tapping the butt of her own custom pole onto the mat. "OK, yeah. Can you get the pole to stand up, like... right here?" She taps a few more times for emphasis, before stepping back two paces to ensure her own safety.

On that matter, she simply nods her head and drops it entirely. It was her cue to do so.

She stays silent while Mint ponders something. She undulates her hips slightly in the meantime. It's something to do. It's natural for her.

"Ok, take your time." She gives a smile again while Mint considers a target for her, and she stops undulating her hips.

She nods her head about Mint's request. This demands more concentration. When she does her Staff, it's natural. For her pole, Mint can see subtle signs of Djamila having to concentrate as if there was something different about this. The pole seems shaky at first, leaning on one side, then the other, but eventually stands up. "Ok, I got it. That's what you meant, you're own pole, right?" She inquires to be sure, yet the concentration is still showing.

Mint frowns -- grateful yet again for the blindfold, as the wind tousles her hair. Apparently she's more unsettled by the recent revelation than she'd thought. After a moment, though, she breathes in and communicates a more approving sound.

"Mm, yeah, that's great! Though, erm... sorry, I'm not communicating that great today. Can you throw -your- pole at me, and try to land it right here?"

She lightly touches the pole, and notes, "You can let go of this one," before stepping back again.

"I am sorry Mint." Djamila says. If she could frown, she probably would

"OK, my pole right before your voice. I can do that. I don't see why that would be a problem." She takes a deep breath, and as soon as Mint tells her she can let go of the other pole, it falls to the ground. She feels much better now. Though she doesn't complain about it. It was a good exercise to do a different pole.

She now prepares herself. When she throws the staff, she throws it like a spear. She throws it a bit too hard though. It's coming straight for Mint until Mint feels the wind, and it stops the Staff right in its track and lands it down in front of her, keeping it up. "My bad, I used too much force to throw it." But it might bring the question of how did she know she had to stop it before landing it. "Like this, right?"

Mint had been frustrated. But ... Djamila's eager to learn, and that goes a long, long way towards easing her mind. The bursts of wind in the midst of an otherwise stuffy office environment helps a ton, too!

She nods as the pole falls over; she doesn't overly mind much as it has a nice cushy mat to land on. She nods again as Djamila hurls the staff like a javelin -- and grits her teeth, leaping out of the way just before the staff's trajectory would have impaled her. It wasn't a William Tell test -- Mint promised -no- bonuses for hitting her or -not- hitting her, so avoiding injury was definitely a prerogative!

But -- the accuracy that it takes to do what Djamila just did -far- exceeds her expectations. Not just -sensing- where Mint was, but -stopping- right before it with such abrupt precision. "Okay, okay, now... that's perfect!"

Mint taps the pole, pleased that Djamila can keep the thing standing upright even with an external force, and stoops down to retrieve her own pole.

"Okay, thanks for that demo! I really appreciate that! So... the reason for all this."

She twangs her pole against her hand; it makes a small 'clack' sound. "So, the reason for all this is pretty simple. Don't let your opponent know -everything- you've got in store for them. Refining old attacks, and adding -new- attacks, is part and parcel with your life as a professional fighter. You've got to keep innovating -- adding to your repertoire, so that you can deal with tougher and tougher opponents."

She thumps her pole against her hand again. The pulleys and weights inside make a small resonant sound with that.

"Making the -most- of your ability to place that pole precisely, wherever you want, is a skill that -very- few people have. So... let's work on that."

She stands about four feet away from Djamila. "Okay. I'm going to tap you twice, just to demonstrate what I'm talking about. Don't move -- just follow along with my words."

Mint grips the pole with both her hands. It's not -really- her thing -- but she can manage this much.

"Okay. First, I'm going to swing for the shoulder."

She swings downwards, chopping the pole towards Djamila's right shoulder.

"Then, I'm going to step forward and crack the pole against your thigh."

She does as she says -- switching the direction of the pole and rapping the bottom end against Djamila's left thigh.

"And then -- if I -could- control my pole and my body the way you do, I'd ground the pole here..." She taps the ground just to the left of Djamila's left foot, so that she can feel the padding shift. "And then I'd hurl myself forward into a kick."

She takes a step back. "Staff to the shoulder, staff to the thigh, then leap into a deep kick with the pole for leverage. Wanna try it out?"

She blinks -- and clarifies -- "Just try it in the air first, not on -me- specifically. That'd lay me flat out on the mat!"

"I shouldn't have put so much force into it. That was a mistake. I just was able to recuperate that mistake. You weren't a target. Not perfect for the physical throw." She didn't feel perfect with that anyway, but then again, correcting your own mistake was something. Who is perfect anyway? Enough, Djamila, it's ok, keep centered. Yes, she's speaking to herself as thoughts flash through her mind.

Mint could see with her pole that she had an ease which she didn't have with the other. She's not even trying to hide it. "It's no problem. You tell me what you want, and I can either do it or not. Thankfully I could for the most part." She sticks out her tongue, getting back into the right mindset if she can.

"If I may say, the pole is part of me. It's not just a weapon, so it's very important for me to keep the most control of it. It's just like with stripping, except usually the pole doesn't move around then. Though I did some special VIP stripping, moving my pole around. But you don't want to hear more about it, I am sure." She chuckles.

She nods her head to Mint once she tells her what she is going to do, listening to her.

When Mint starts, Djamila's instinct wants her to move out of the way, but she doesn't, besides a twitch before the first 'hit' touches her shoulder. Then she warns her about thigh one and with this one, there is no twitch, keeping her instinct under control better. She nods at the last instruction before she starts laughing. "It's ok Mint, I won't hit you unless you specifically ask, or we are in a spar. We should be in a spar." She chuckles, teasing.

Then it's her turn to as she does as she was told. She follows the instruction, aiming toward a fake shoulder. Is it exactly the right spot? It depends on the person's height. Was she imagining Mint in this case? Who knows. Then, her second hit is more precise. She then sets her staff down, keeping it there, around the stop she asked her to do. Then she jumps on it and sends her feet and legs flying forward like a drop kick. She understands what Mint wants. She will need to do it more to get it in though.

She now says suddenly. "I have an idea Mint! Do you mind if I try something?" She seems a little excited at her new thought.

"... Well, I didn't get hurt, so I'm not, like, -mad- or anything!" Minal actually breaks into laughter for a moment. "But... yeah, I could say you might be using too much force in -general-. I understand you wanna whack people as hard as you can, but if you keep it up that'll just wear yourself out." She pauses. "Especially if you -miss-. An overextended attack can give your opponent the opportunity they need. And that's... actually one reason I'm showing you this attack now."

Mint seems... pretty pleased at Djamila's execution! "That looks great! And yeah -- the more you do it, the faster and more fluid it'll be. ... The point here is to help you better gauge when you can get away with a light hit and when you can land a more powerful one, by setting your opponent up psychologically first. The first strike is meant to test the opponent's defenses -- see if they're listening. The second -- is a further push to keep them boxed in, to discourage them from getting away."

Mint swings her own staff as she talks, letting the swoosh-swoosh sounds of her motions add to the aural texture.

"At -either- of those two points, if the opponent shies away, you can shift into something else without following up with the big kick. But, once you've confirmed they're not gonna dodge, -then- you plow them over. And you're still using your abilities to anchor yourself in place, so you get the full -power- of your kick, without overcommitting yourself."

But... when Djamila pipes in, and wants to try something? Mint sounds like she's in full agreement. "Oh, yeah! Sure! Go ahead! I'm eager to see what you've got!"

"I am not trying to hurt you, less we spar, than I will try to knock you out, and I probably wouldn't be able to." She grins. "But a girl can dream." She laughs, teasing. Then she gets serious again. Is she using too much power? "Do you mean I have hit too hard against Genie? I like to do my staff spinning kicks. It allows me to see how the opponent reacts and go from there. To be honest. Then, I can decide where I go from there. But I will keep that in mind. Wouldn't want to go too hard in." She was just a little confused.

"Thank you, Mint. I did do my studies on Genie. I know she could have a sort of shield that would hit me instead. I kept my hits rather light. Except with my last hit over her head. But I figured if she tried her shield, then I could power through, and that's what happened. Granted, I could have misjudged it. I have to be careful, but it worked out, and she was down." She ponders. "When I was against Junko, it was so different. Those powerful attacks, yet the wind protected me. When I sent my staff to her, I used an extra push of power. I felt like she wasn't expecting it. I was right again. I want to listen to you Mint, and I will. I am just not sure. I thought at worst, I was using medium things mixed with light ones. I also have more tricks up my sleeves, but I didn't need any extra tricks against Genie. No offense to her." It keeps her thinking.

She takes her staff in her hands. She then sends it up. She uses wind to keep it up, and then she jumps to grab it and be off the ground. She holds it for a moment, but then the wind she uses isn't enough, and she falls on her back. "Oof. There's something there I am sure, but I need to do more tries and see what works or not." She grins. "Sorry, it wasn't too impressive yet." She gets back up.

Mint finds herself in the position of, yet again, not really hitting the right measure of nuance. She's used to dealing with Marines who really need -extreme- examples in order to make even the tiniest changes to their operations.

"... Listen, I'm not here to criticize your victories. Not my point at all, and I'm sorry if I gave that impression. I'm just speaking, y'know, in -general- terms, okay?"

Mint's happy to watch Djamila take flight -- leaping into a move that has her carrying the staff way overhead. "Yeah! That's basically what I'm talking about here. Adding more pages to your cookbook, so your opponents won't be able to tell what you're dishing out next!" Mint shakes her head -- "Don't apologize for that! This is the place to see the works in progress. No one plops out gold on their first try at something new -- if they do, they're lying to ya."

She rests her hand on her hips, leaning against her staff. "All I'm after today is general fight pacing. You wanna land more hits... just mix in some new styles every now and then. Keep it fresh, right?"

Mint straightens herself up -- and then tries to throw the pole a fair distance away. She flicks her thumb, twisting it a certain direction as the pole is in flight. It lands with a light *paf* into the mat a few feet away; the pole's internal weights start gyroscoping to balance it.

"Best thing you can do for the future is start thinking of -different- ways to capitalize on the space you have available. You've seen the other three newbies, right? -Both- of them seem like they're real big fans of hitting hard and taking noooo prisoners. So you're gonna wanna make sure you're not leaving yourself vulnerable."

"In the end, I need to have as many tools as possible to be able to deal with any kind of fighters. Do I get what you mean, right?" She smiles. "What if I tell you I've been practicing to be able to deflect moves and be able to hit back while blocking? A counter of some sort, and some other things too, involving my winds? Do you think that's good to have those tools, too?" She smiles. "I am sorry if I don't understand exactly what you mean sometimes. But thank you for having the patience to explain.

Thank you. I will work on taking things in the air in different ways, and it will give me a whole new area to work from if it works." She smiles. "No one told me that. I love our two new teammates. It was a great choice I think. You don't need me to say it. I am not the one who decides who is good or not, but I wanted to say that.

She nods her head after. "Keep things new so it's harder for someone to adapt and punish you for it. I get it, I think? yeah?"

She listens as Mint does her thing and throws the other pole. She doesn't say anything right away as she isn't sure why.

When she continues speaking, it becomes clearer. "I am aware of the vampires mostly, but I will make sure to do my homework on the other two as well. It worked for Genie, so I know what to do." She smiles.

Then she adds. "About NFG, if I am not mistaken, we will be against Frost next. Then it will be the tournament to know the big winner of this. Yeah? May I say this is very exciting? I did decent in the starter one, and I intend to do better in the final one." She grins. "I just wanted to say that."

She then throws her staff high up in the air, and keeps it in the air. She gets in a weaponless fighting stance. Her position is not the best. She's not a weaponless fighter. But then she lets the staff fall, and when she can, she kicks it, sending it forward. It crashes in no one since she's not fighting anyone, but maybe she could do something with this, too.

She does pull her staff back to her after, straight into her hand, without a word.

Mint nods along with Djamila. "Yep, sounds like it! And... that's great, yeah! Being able to reverse opponent's moves onto themselves is a powerful technique, and it's great that you're able to use your staff to help out with that. The more tools you can bring to a fight, the better off you'll be -- I believe that a hundred and ten percent."

As for aerial tactics... "Just... stay flexible. Air might be a challenge till you get the hang of it. I still haven't mastered air combat myself." She drops her shoulders to either side with a faint grin, remembering what it feels like to achieve flight -- on a short timeframe, at least.

"Yeah. I was fortunate enough to get some time in with Iris the other day. She's a smart cookie, I'm sure she's gonna do well in the next big event." The difference in Iris' fights between pre-Rumble fights and the Hawksley fight were like night and day, as far as Mint was concerned.

"And Sarah... I really hope we do get to spend more time with her but I'm guessing her DJ career might be taking the front seat." Mint's less happy about that, but as is often said in the military: "It is what it is, though."

She grins as Djamila tries out something else with her staff. "Hehe, yeah -- keep at it! Kinda curious though... you wanna go for a round with your ol' teach? If so I'll just need to get my knucks on. I don't think I'd be much of a challenge with this pole."

"I haven't practiced much. I didn't need to with Genie, and with Junko, it felt like a baby attempt." She laughs. "But I practice." She laughs more. "I believe it's best too. I will figure out what to add to my tools.

"If Air Combat is not ready, then I won't do it. I mean at worst, I can stand on my upright staff just fine. Just also trying a different way to do it. I have also a few theories I need to test out. I am lucky to have had the wind with me ever since I lost my eyes. It feels like an extension of me too."

When Iris is mentioned again, it makes her smile. "I had the chance to spend time with her, too. We will probably spar at one point. She's smart. She just needs to realize that among other things. I will be there for her when she needs it. Not a sponsor of course, but as a friend." After a pause, "Iris is awesome in fights. We all need to realize we don't need to win to get better or to be great. I mean. it's a super nice win, don't take me wrong." She chuckles.

"As for Sarah. I went to her last match to cheer her. I am trying my best to be there for all my teammates. If there is a time I can catch her, I will gladly spend time with her, too.

Kenzo, I like him. He helped me when I needed it most, and I will never forget that. The only person I don't feel any bond is JD. It's nothing against him, but besides the rumble, I haven't been able to catch him. So I don't feel it much, but I still cheer for him and will help him if he needs my help."

She laughs softly. "I will try everything that comes to my mind if it's feasible." She would wink if she could. "A round with you? Hell yes, please. Count me in. Don't hold back at all. There is time until the next fight. Train me to take hard blows from a top fighter." She grins. "I will also wait for you while you get your gears on. I won't fight with them. I don't expect you to fight with a pole." She can't help laughing again

Mint scratches the side of her cheek. It's one thing for Djamila to flex at an opponent in the ring, but it just feels a little unsettling to hear her make light of fighters who have downed her peers on a number of occasions. But, as she feels that her main point of discussion -- being that Djamila shouldn't short herself on disciplined practice -- is conveyed. So she just keeps that opinion to herself.

Corporal Panesh offers a few brisk nods, appreciating that the brief summary of Team Metal's fighters is a bit more objective. "Right... Matt and the others keep dragging JD out for one shoot or another. He's doing alright in combat, so... maybe it's okay?" Mint gives a light shrug to that.

"Okay! Then... just gimme a jiff and I'll be right back."

And with that, Mint is off.

- - -

Four minutes later, Mint returns with her KNUCKS equipped, and... carrying an aluminum thermos. "Alright. We've still got quite a bit of time before your next battle, so -maybe- I can let you get a bit more runtime this go-round, Djamila. Still -- same rules as before: when it's time to stop, that's it, staff down. Sound good?"

Metal pistons slide, air tubes hiss, and the miniature gas turbines of her gauntlets light off with light, high-pitched whines. Mint steps into the combat ring, grinning.

"Alright. Show me some of these new techniques you've been talking about!"

COMBATSYS: Mint has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

                                  >  //////////////////////////////]
                                  |=------\-------\0             Mint

COMBATSYS: Djamila has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Djamila          0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0             Mint

She knows no fights will be easy. She's just pumped right now, one might say. But she is indeed well aware she needs to continue training.

"It's not for me to decide if it's ok. I can only decide what's okay for me, and I might not always be objective there either." She chuckles.

She waits when Mint goes to get her stuff. This is going to be a good fight. Whatever happens, she will learn something again.

When Mint comes back. "I understand. I will not destroy myself to prove anything. I promise."

"OK, I am ready. It will be fun." She moves closer and sets her staff down. She quickly gets high on it and turns upside down, holding herself by her legs. She then reaches for Mint's ankles. If she has her way, she will grab them with her hands to trip her down. If she succeeds, she gets back upright on her staff.

COMBATSYS: Mint blocks Djamila's Inside Leg Hang.

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Djamila          0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0             Mint

Mint grins. She'd seen Djamila perform this attack a number of times. Still -- she's short, and her gauntlets are much larger, so it might not be surprising that she has a defense to such an attack: the corporal crouches. Here, she angles her forearm in front, giving Djamila a chance to grip the broad, carbon fiber finish of her gauntlet rather than her ankles.

"It's amazing how flexible you are..." she comments...

... right before the telltale whine of her gauntlet engines flaring up signifies the onset of an incoming attack. In this case, Mint launches from her crouch into an uppercut aimed at Djamila's core!

COMBATSYS: Mint successfully hits Djamila with Medium Punch.

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Djamila          0/-------/---<<<<|====---\-------\0             Mint

This time, Djamila listened, doing a quicker attack than she usually starts with at least. "You need to be to work the pole." She grins.

But perhaps talking isn't not in her best interest right now. It makes her a tad slow to move out of the way of the blow, and instead, she receives the punches. She winces but takes it. What else can she do? It's her fault for not being quick enough. She asked Mint to give it to her and she's giving it to her. All is good in the world.

"That right here, is why I will always need more training. Oof. Wake up call." She laughs and slides down from her staff after that. She starts with a sweep with her left leg, but as her legs move, a gush of wind lifts her suddenly, the kick now going for the head. At least that's the goal. It's not one of her strongest. She's testing her trainer and trying as well as showing some new things.

If all is well, she falls back on her feet after that. The staff still standing beside her, if needed.

COMBATSYS: Djamila successfully hits Mint with Light Kick.
- Power hit! -

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Djamila          0/-------/--<<<<<|=======\-------\0             Mint

Mint hops back from her punch. In a real fight she might be more willing to press a momentary advantage, but she's hoping to give Djamila a bit more of a fighting chance here. This isn't strictly about -victory-, but more about providing opportunities for the student to learn more of the teacher's style.

"Yeah... that's the thing about the pole, I know where to find ya." She raises her gauntlet, scratching the bridge of her nose with a bulky metal finger.

Mind, while doing that, it creates a bit of a blind spot. Such that when she lowers the gauntlet, she suddenly sees Djamila's foot hurling right into her head. *POW!* It pops her right in the ear, forcing the veteran to stagger roughly to the side.

"Yeah, 'wake up call' can go both ways there!" Maybe she could have drank some more coffee...

Shaking the cobwebs out of her cranium, she clashes her fists together with a shower of sparks. "Okay. No rest for the weary!" she chirps out.

And if Djamila had wanted aerial combat -- Mint's about to give her that. The thrusters -- which had dialed back after her rapid punch -- roar to life once again as Mint thunders forward. She doesn't punch, per se -- but aims to use her meaty hands to grab hold of Djamila. If she manages this, the thrusters would launch both fighters into the air! And with Mint's left hand cradling Djamila's back, she intends to drive two quick rabbit-punches into her stomach. It's all a perfectly scientific way of testing how Djamila reacts to pressure, after all!

COMBATSYS: Djamila counters STOL from Mint with Quick Strike.
* Attack Of Opportunity! *

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Djamila          0/-------/---<<<<|=======\==-----\1             Mint

"It's okay if I was always fast enough, even against you, then I would wonder." She grins. Even if she gets hurt, she's having fun.

But in the end, the kick hits, maybe a bit harder than she intended. Not tiring herself up, so that's a plus. "Maybe some painkillers after this bout." But she is kidding.

Mint can be fast, too. Djamila knows that. Mint grabs her. So she has to try something new. As Mint takes her into the air, the wind flows around Djamila and brings her staff up with her. She reaches for it and bumps Mint over the head to make her release her, landing semi gracefully on the floor. "I did learn new things."

Though she wasn't sure it would work, it's a good way to practice those things. She keeps her senses as sharp as she can now, holding her staff in both hands.

Normally Mint would expect that when she grabs hold of someone, they stay put. But with Djamila's excellent command of the winds, that just isn't something she can take for granted. Taking a whack to the head is certainly enough to force the corporal to reconsider this plan -- startled, she lets go -- and hits the mat in a hard tumble.

Her boots skid against the mat as she brakes herself to a stop. Sweat lines her brow as she springs back to her feet -- it looks like Djamila's found a way to get Mint to start fighting -seriously-.

"Ain't it about time for you to start dancin'?" she quips -- with the slightest bit of a wink.

And that is about all the warning Djamila will get -- as the turbines roar up to full throttle. It's probably a good thing the sleeping quarters are two floors up from here, as the sounds of jet wash from her gauntlets' nozzles is -not- quiet, nor a particularly pleasant breeze. Mint thunders forward with a hook punch meant to catch Djamila right in the breastbone, her velocity of such force that she'd blast the pole fighter right off her feet if it landed. But even if it didn't, Mint would suddenly brake herself on the mat, peppering the throttle and twisting her arms to facilitate the maneuver, and sling herself back the opposite direction to make a second pass...

This attack would come from the air, as Mint launches herself upwards -- and then brings -both- her mechanical fists crashing down from above -- and if she makes contact, she'd feel a -second- punch from each fist as the pneumatic cylinders blow their charges, driving the fists with even more force!

COMBATSYS: Mint blitzes into action and acts again!

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Djamila          0/-------/---<<<<|=======\==-----\1             Mint

COMBATSYS: Djamila dodges Mint's Hook Punch.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Djamila          0/-------/---<<<<|=======\=------\1             Mint

COMBATSYS: Djamila dodges Mint's BFH.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Djamila          0/-------/------<|=======\==-----\1             Mint

Djamila is on her toes because she knows it's not because she has some success that everything will be easy peasy from now on. Not in any match, and especially not against Mint. "Finally." Djamila grins. She is just playful about it but doesn't take the fight any less seriously. "Let's dance."

Mint's gauntlet is painful, strong, fast. But one thing they certainly are not is sneaky or quiet. Only a deaf person wouldn't hear this, and then again, maybe the vibrations would clue them. She doesn't have long to think about it. Just a quick thought. Taking this head-on doesn't feel like an option, whatever is coming. So, she uses her staff to vault to the side, barely able to clear the area before the hook catches her in the breastbone.

Even then, she can't catch a breather as Mint's speed is put on display again. This time, an aerial attack which seems to want to crush Djamila down. This time, she slides under, but it's not her staff which helps her. She's bringing it with her. No, this time, the wind helps her slide on the mat before she stands back up.

It worked... she seemed surprised herself a bit. The last time she spared Mint, she doesn't think she would have been able to do this.

Now she puts her staff down, upright and she jumps high on it. Then she extends her legs, and it's time for her helicopter kick. The one she usually starts most of her matches with. A mix of old and new. Let's see how Mint will deal with the new. If she has her way, after hitting her she will finish on a split on the floor and roll backward on her feet. But many things can happen.

COMBATSYS: Mint interrupts Chopper Spin from Djamila with Foxtrot Oscar EX.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Djamila          1/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1             Mint

Mint is no longer holding back on using any of her gauntlet-amplified speed this time.

"Just be careful what you wish for," cautions the corporal.

And then she realizes what makes Djamila so potent in the NFG. It isn't just brutal use of leverage, but her uncanny knack of avoiding damn near anything. For even when Mint attempts to slam out one hit after another, even her extended reach comes up short...

Mint lands on the mat, hitting the brakes again to come around for a third pass. But here -- she sees that Djamila has already started to put her pole to work again, in a stationary position. Gritting her teeth, Mint realizes that she has the opportunity to dodge... but an even better opportunity to counterattack.

Mint rises to meet the descending Djamila. She raises her left gauntlet, causing the kick to glance off the top, and continue onward to slam against the side of Mint's head. It's a small price to pay though, as the solid contact means that Mint has a clear target to hammer with her right fist. Two rapid punches are fired out into Djamila's abdomen, each accompanied by a solid, momentary burst of throttle. And then once the immediate danger of kicks has subsided, Mint slams down a third punch as a follow-up -- not holding back in the slightest!

Just a little punch drunk, Mint hangs back for the moment afterward, brushing the back of a gauntlet against her nose. "Yeah -- I'd say you hit a little harder now than before..."

At this moment, she doesn't answer Mint about being careful what she wishes for. Yet it doesn't go on deaf ears.

So she's doing her helicopter kicks as she likes to think of them, but Mint is ready for them. Ready to take them, to punish Djamila for it. And punish she does. Two rapid punches to the abdomen. She feels the impact, but she holds on. It's the third punch, at full force, that makes her release the poll, and she hits the ground.

She's the worse for wear, but she pushes herself up. "I don't wish for things. I just do my best. If I want to learn better, I need you to give me your best." She bows her head, and she extends her hand, a gush of wind pushing her staff to her as it disconnects and flies right into her left hand. "Come on Mint. Give me more. All signs point you will take me down, but I am not giving up yet." She focuses all of her senses now, for a moment.

COMBATSYS: Djamila stops moving and focuses herself.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Djamila          1/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1             Mint

"Psh. You won't have to worry about that."

Mint raises both fists, swinging about into a more proper boxing stance. It's not -fully- proper because her gauntlets extend her reach too far for that -- but it does the job of keeping her face protected.

"You've earned every bit of this," she admits with a grin, barely visible between her metal fists.

In the next blink of an eye, though, Mint zigs forward and to her left. Another moment, and Mint lowers her hands and head, zagging forward to her right. Perhaps -expectedly-, her next move starts with her zigging to her left again -- but a sudden burst of throttle has her interrupting that simple pattern, bringing her -left- hand to bear in a powerful, jet-boosted uppercut to the jaw -- hoping to cut off any other crafty attempts to get the upper hand against her!

COMBATSYS: Djamila fails to counter Attack of Opportunity from Mint with Knee Hold.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Djamila          1/-----==/=======|=======\=====--\1             Mint

"And I am fun while learning." She can't help but grin, even if it will be short-lived.

As Mint Zigs to forward and to the left, Djamila sets her staff down and climbs on it. As She Zigs forward and to the right, the blind girl inverts herself on her staff. And when Mint doesn't quite zig fully to the left but instead comes forward with the uppercut, Djamila jumps toward her mentor. She had a plan, but whatever it was, instead, she jumped straight in the uppercut path. Thus, she doesn't exactly get hit in the jaws, but she manages to be hit in her breasts which isn't good either. She yelps as it happens, and she falls to the ground, "Motherfucker!" She lets out again. Because Djamila swears at times. She's not angry though. It just hurts.

She then pushes through the pain and slowly forces herself up again. "Come on Mint. Give me one more chance. Hit me with all you got. Make me learn." She knows her breasts will have a very nasty bruise for a while, but she's not stripping at the moment, so she will handle it.

She moves toward her staff, holding it for support, watching Mint, unable to try another attack at this time.

To a fighter, cuts and bruises are proof of existence, medals of honor to show that one isn't just going through the motions of life, but grabbing it by the horns and -doing- something with that gift. So while Mint certainly doesn't -want- to injure her dear student, she knows that pain can sometimes etch a permanent memory in ways that words alone cannot.

Minal grins at the cursing; she'd a pretty poor Marine if she couldn't handle the occasional f-bomb. Raising her guard again, she steps back into a holding pattern some five feet away to give Djamila a chance to return to her feet.

"Mmm... that might make a mess though."

Mint smirks, ever so slightly. She has a plan and she's sticking to it. And in this case, she keeps her guard raised, strafing sideways. The side boosters on her gauntlets fire as well, making it difficult to gauge just how -fast- she might be moving -- once to the left, twice to the right. All to engineer the perfect opening...

Just when she thinks it'd be most advantageous to her, the veteran plunges forward with a quick left jab. She follows up with a hard right hook, aimed at Djamila's chin. And, even though Mint is definitely on record as being a rightie, she surges forward to deliver a powerful, driving punch with her left hand, aiming a punishing blow towards Djamila's abdomen!

COMBATSYS: Djamila fails to counter Knuckle Dragger EX from Mint with Jade Split.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Djamila          0/-------/--=====|=======\=====--\1             Mint

COMBATSYS: Djamila keeps on fighting!

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Djamila          0/-------/--=====|=======\=====--\1             Mint

"Then a mess it will be. I will take any pain I got because of it." She smirks a bit and gets ready.

Mint does her attack. Djamila grabs her staff, about to swing it at Mint's legs as she comes, but her breasts hurt, and she's not fast enough. Mint gets the Jab, which stops Djamila before her staff gets to the leg. She's able to move her head to the side to dodge the right hook, but it sets her for the left power punch in her abdomen. Her staff falls to the ground, and so does she. She seems out. But suddenly, her staff trembles before setting itself upright before Djamila, slowly and with difficulty, pushes herself back up. "I hate to say this, but I made you a promise. I have to stop there. Because the next attack that gets me will finish me off. But I at least was able to get back up after trying new things and get hit full force." She grins, grabbing her staff to help herself stand. "Thank you, Mint. I didn't just dodge. I tried new things for you. Because I didn't want to want to just win this, assuming I could. I wanted to do as you requested. There's a lot of data now in my head to consider and pain to remind me." She coughs a bit as she laughs.

She ponders. "Unless you want to try to knock me out, which would probably not take that long. Either way, I held my promise.

Mint doesn't just -stop- after throwing her last punch -- she draws both fists up to resume her guard. The exhaust from her turbines continues to chug out hot air, warping the perfection of the Ultratech building's 78th floor into a wavy Impressionist painting. Her eyes may be dropping slightly from the hammering a series of rapid-fire punches at Djamila, but it doesn't show in the way she bobs fluidly from one foot to the other; the practiced footwork of a professional boxer to the last.

Even while Djamila rises to her feet, Mint is already planning out her next move, circling around for the next opportunity, showcasing her determination to give the dancer exactly what she's asked for.

Right up until the word 'stop' is spoken.
The deal is remembered.
And the deal is honored.

"Heh, yeah. You're gettin' the hang of it." She nods, throttling back her engines, lowering her fists, and rising to her full (albeit less-than-impressive) height.

"Well there's no way I could do that in good faith -now-, Djamila," responds the New Jerseyan with a smirk. "But... yeah! Your counterattacks are getting good! But... a -big- part of counterattacking is learning to read your opponent." She adds with a snicker: "And also when learning -not- to read your opponent. I'm sure you already knew that psychology is a -huge- part of fighting. Getting into your opponent's head, reading how they move, and figuring out the best way to leverage their strengths against them...." Mint breathes in, contentedly. "That's my favorite part of fighting, no doubt about it."

She lifts her knuckles up, extending her fist out to Djamila.

"Okay! I think that earns us a break for now. Try out what you've learned today -- and remember that all your opponents, all the 'easy wins' you had earlier in your career? They're training too. And if they're even -half- as good as you... wow."

Mint flashes a toothy grin, overflowing with pride.

"The rest of the world ain't gonna know what hit 'em."

Mint smiles, letting that thought hang there for a moment.

"Alright then. Class dismissed!"

COMBATSYS: Mint takes no action.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Djamila          0/-------/--=====|=======\=====--\1             Mint

"I am learning. I think I did better than last time." She chuckles. "I could have dodged more, but we both know I can do that. You want to see things. I needed to practice this more, among other things. I wouldn't have done it in a real fight. I don't think so anyway."

"I offered at least." She says. "But thanks, I hurt enough already, but nothing the wind a rest won't take away." She nods her head. "Too much countering, with misses, trying to practice. It's ok, I am fine with that." She smiles at mind. "It's a good way to think about it."

"You mind, we're heading toward the last stretch of things, as far as I know, and I may not be the best. I can't promise I will be the winner of the season, but I am still proud of what I accomplished, and I am going to give it my all till it's done." She beams. "It's a promise."

Then she listens to Mint. "They are all amazing too. We all went a long way."

"You want to be alone now? Or for all I know another student is coming now. I think I will get some food either way. I am fine if you want to eat with me. I am fine if you wanna go. You made a difference in my life Mint. I just want you to know that." She admits.

COMBATSYS: Djamila has left the fight here.

                                  >  ////////////                  ]
                                  |=======\=====--\1             Mint

Mint answers with a brisk shake of her head. "Nah... I appreciate the offer, but... I wasn't kiddin', you hit pretty hard!" She follows that with a laugh. "Whenever I try eatin' anything right after a fight it... well, it don't end well, I'll just say that much."

She picks up her coffee thermos from where it had been left. Apparently it's okay for her to drink that. "I'm.... probably just gonna hit the showers and cool off. Maybe take a dip in the pool for a bit." It's still a little mind-blowing to know there's a pool on the floor immediately above them -- and that that's not even the -weirdest- feature of the building.

"We'll catch up later, alright? Us old-timers gotta take it easy." Mint snaps a quick salute -- and starts making her way to the elevator. There's a lot of new information to think about -- and she probably -could- use a little time to herself.

COMBATSYS: Mint has left the fight here.

"Alright. I will eat and then meditate to heal my poor, battered body." She grins. "I am happy to hear I hit hard, though. That's all the pole. My job made me strong, agile, and flexible." She's a bit proud. "Thank you, Mint, for everything. I shall see you later then. You can call me if you need anything." There's something she would like to try, and it makes her giggle. Instead, for now, she leaves slowly, not ready to skip around yet or anything. It is time for food.

Log created on 13:20:21 09/24/2023 by Mint, and last modified on 11:40:28 09/26/2023.